No Moms Left Behind
Peggy Fox, a WUSA reporter, talked to a parent who confirmed that during a recent Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Family Night for recruit firefighters, a “captain said that “some practical jokes go on in the station with the new recruits some might call it hazing, some might call it bullying.” “Millennials have thin skin”, and “boys will be boys.”
The captain’s comments are both alarming and unsupportable but the millennial reference is not without merit.
Rice University and others posit that millennials consider themselves to be both sheltered and special, among other distinctive characteristics.
Regarding being sheltered, Rice observes, “They were sheltered from having to take care of their own conflicts as parents advocated on their behalf, and “spared” them from unpleasant experiences.”
What could possibly be more millennial than a “family night” where the parents of the employees go on to write letters and talk to reporters on behalf of their aggrieved children?
Post graduation will mom and dad show up at the firehouse to demand gluten-free chow for the wee ones?
It is the quintessential example of helicopter parenting run amok.
Mittendorff, One Year On
This episode was the “how are we doing” pop quiz and the answer is terrible.
Fairfax County Board of Supervisor’s member Penny Gross said she is “fit to be tied.”
Dranesville Supervisor John Foust said, “There’s cancer in the department. Some individuals just don’t get it.”
And, Chairman Sharon Bulova said, “If the captain did indeed say those things at the meeting, he must be disciplined.”
To Bulova, Gross and Foust: First time, shame on Fire Chief Richard Bowers, second time, shame on you.
In its own unique way this is another John Geer incident where the Board of Supervisors hides behind cowardly do-nothing rhetoric.
While Best’s comments (and certainly the acts themselves) are not to be accepted or condoned, disciplining him is beyond absurd, he simply told it as he sees it to the horror of the mommies and the daddies present.
The problem is at the top levels.
It is the fire chief and his senior chiefs who must be held accountable for their abject failure to create substantive change in the ranks.
The Candyman and His Boys
Bowers nickname is “candyman” as he gives the b’hoys what they want.
The fact that one year after the death of Nicole Mittendorff a captain can publicly rationalize hazing and bullying as practical jokes is proof positive that giving them what they want is a failed strategy all around.
All that candy has caused a mouth full of cavities and it is way past time for a trip to the dentist.
It will and should hurt, a lot.
Winners and Losers
Where is the Fairfax County Professional Firefighters and Paramedics, IAFF Local 2068 in this catastrophe?
They apparently continue to prop up a regime which has failed to create the change that would protect our members, all of them.
They are utterly silent and absent from the field of battle.
So absent, in fact, that moms and dads have taken up the fight in their stead.
In this leaderless environment Bowers and his predatory b’hoys are the winners and the citizens of Fairfax County are the losers.
The Board of Supervisors are losers too, but of an entirely different sort.